Editing in general


Continuing the discussion from Need editing, proofreading, or HTML/CSS help?:

[Just created this topic to reply and not clog up the original thread.]

I actually agree with you. Editing before its published would have been the best scenario. However due to a lack of funds and a caution from a poor experience with a professional editor made me hesitant to hire another. So Unnatural was mostly self-edited with help from people during the testing process and some help from @JimD who read through it and gave me advice.


I think it’s important to stress just how many spelling and grammar mistakes can be avoided if the writer writes in a word processor. Notepad++, Sublime Text and other code editors are great tools—for code. If you’re serious about the literary experience you’re delivering do your paragraphs a favor and make them first in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

After they’re written, copy-paste those paragraphs into your preferred code editor. Allow your brain to switch from the creative gears to the logical ones. Better yet, before you paste those paragraphs, use a piece of editing software. I use StyleWriter 4. It highlights things like passive voice and wordiness that really help in the rewriting process.

Between these steps and the careful eyes of forum testers, anyone can create a pleasantly well-edited read.


Just an added note here. When writing in a word processor watch out for ’ and ". Choicescript doesn’t recognize the curly ones used by MS Word and 'll give all sorts of weird errors that are a real pain to track down.


I use EditPad Pro to write my ChoiceScript stuff, and it has a very effective spellchecker while still avoiding the curly quotes issue @Cecilia_Rosewood rightly points out.


I disagree – though not, you know, passionately. I’m glad that works for you, but I don’t think it’s necessary and it can be counter-productive.

For me, there isn’t a logical brain which does code and a creative brain which does writing. The creative brain is (and has to be) engaged when writing code. Much of what I write isn’t paragraph-sized chunks and couldn’t usefully be written any way but in code, given the variability of the story. That variability is, to me, what’s literarily distinctive about the stories we’re writing.

Improved spell-checking is not (for me) a big enough benefit to give up the code editors. But for others it may be helpful. Just learn how to turn off the autoformatting bits that cause problems (smart quotes, N-dashes, etc)


I have shot myself in the foot so many times trying to turn Word documents into text files. I end up with a hundred and one bugs a scene because it looks like there’s a carriage return but according to the code there isn’t.

Editing a story or game is a huge endeavor. I think it’s worth at least $1000 to professionally edit a full length game of 3.5 mb or so. Which means, with the profit that most people expect from their ChoiceScript games, it’s a huge chunk of your theoretical budget. A well-edited game will definitely get you better reviews and more sales. But if you can possibly do that by studying grammar and devoting the time yourself, or getting a partner who is skilled with the mechanics of the language, that might be a better solution.

I have done professional editing before, and the budget of your average independent publishing house is far more than what the average ChoiceScript programmer can afford. This is why I am offering my services for proofreading at a price, but only offering to edit/play-test for free for games I want to donate my time to.

Proofreading is a specialized skill. You can be fantastic at writing, use spellcheck, and still miss all kinds of small mistakes. I’m still figuring out my pricing, but I think I’ll offer an option to proofread at a certain rate per 100 KB, or one to clean up after someone has extensively edited at around 5 cents a mistake. For me, the effort vs. time works out fine because I’m a speed-reader with a preternatural sense for errors.

I have helped @HornHeadFan with Community College Hero (finding far more typos and text errors than any other tester), and will be hanging out my shingle as a freelance proofreader after I finish going over Trial of the Demon Hunter for @Samuel_H_Young. I like to go into any new endeavor with a couple of solid references, but had other things came up before I could devote time to finishing TotDH pro bono. :smile:


Also curly quotes instead of plain quotes, a few other punctuation symbols I forget, and the real killer - needing to re-insert all of your carriage returns/new lines.

And those.


I would certainly commend @Sashira for her keen eye(s) :eyes: and attention to detail.

I thought Community College Hero was “pretty clean” :bath: before she even looked at it as a beta tester. It really wasn’t my intention to burden with my beta testers with finding tons of errors.

I had reviewed it carefully, played it numerous times with my wife looking for errors, poured over the scene files, pasted some of it through Word spell check (finding few errors), ran it past two waves of beta testers (about 50 people total) and still she managed to find (and post) about 70 spelling/grammar/typo errors.

Sometimes a new set of eyes really makes a difference. When you know as a writer what a sentence is supposed to say, it’s easy for your eyes to see “on” as “of” or something like that.